Passive Drinking

A really excellent Campaign Launch Report was shared by Drinkwise recently called ‘Alcohol and Childhood Don’t Mix’ and you can see the full report here and you can find their website at: www.LookAgainAtAlcohol.org.uk

It opens with “this investigation uncovers a shocking truth – we are failing to protect our children from the negative consequences of alcohol.”
I was really struck by some of the statistics in this report, some I’ll discuss here and one other set deserve a blog post of their own.
These statistics relate to the impact of other people’s drinking on children:
  • 8% neglected or not well looked after
  • 8% missed school
  • 6% mentally affected
  • 12% anxious, upset or worried
  • 2% missed health appointments
  • 5% missed leisure activities
  • 3% in physical danger

They may seem small numbers but children are dependent on adults for their physical and emotional health and well-being and so are not able to be responsible for themselves.  Plus a report by the children’s commissioner has found that social services support for alcohol misuse is failing to look beyond the impact on the individual.

Joanna Manning, national lead on substance misuse for The Children’s Society, said: “Children and young people are suffering the impact of their parents’ drinking for a long time before it comes to the notice of the authorities – if at all. Even then, the routes to help and the services available are ad hoc and vary across the country.

“Local authorities tend to focus on young people’s own drinking without consideration that it might be learnt or normalised behaviour from their parents. Equally, not enough is being done to address and support parents who drink, in order to reduce the impact upon children and families.”

Statistics relating to drinking patterns and behaviours of 14-17 year olds who drink alcohol:

  • 72% think that getting drunk is fun
  • 57% believe that it is normal to get drunk
  • 40% are not worried about the long term health effects
  • 54% binge drink
  • 37% drink just to get drunk
Underpinning these trends is a surprising connection from very young children to the adult drinking world, and also misperceptions about what level of alcohol consumption is “normal”. A survey of 9-11 year-olds showed that 3-in-5 think it is normal to drink to forget your problems, 27% think beer drinkers consume 4-6 pints in an evening and 30% think wine drinkers drink 5 or more glasses a night.
Plus the impact of living in a home where alcohol abuse is an issue can last a lifetime. And the behaviours unfortunately can be self-perpetuating as reflected in these statistics:
  • 30+ sexual partners:  3.6 times more likely
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: 2.5 times more likely
  • Anxiety: 2.5 times more likely
  • Severe obesity: 1.9 times more likely
  • Current smoker: 1.8 times more likely
  • Alcoholism: 7.2 times more likely
  • Perpetrating partner violence: 2.5 times more likely
‘Passive drinking kills. It causes family breakdown and violent crime. It costs the economy billions of pounds.  It causes misery. It affects many spheres of life and leaves no communities untouched.’
Sir Liam Donaldson, 2009 CMO Report

17 thoughts on “Passive Drinking

    1. Yes Lisa at the Alcohol Concern conference today there was a lot of talk about it being a child protection issue. Thank you 🙂

  1. That’s a thorough piece of writing. And sad. I am guessing the country’s costs are finally starting to outweigh the profits by now? Liquid bread and games. :-/

    Sad to say that when drinking, I would have put it away at the exact first sentence with ‘shocking truth’. 🙁 Yes, sorry world. Addiction and denial go hand in hand.

    1. It is the scale of denial of the issue that is shocking feeling ….

      1. Yes, it is. All those people in pain and just passing it on. And sorry if I seemed disinterested, I have trouble feeling for the world right now, need to keep myself up and running and that currently means shutting things out. :-/

  2. Those numbers are staggering, but true. I worry so much about our young people, growing up in this booze-soaked culture. I agree with Feeling, the people who need to read this report are the people who won’t because they’re in denial 🙁 xx

    1. The majority have their fingers in their ears except those who are on the sharp end of the problem. If you work with these young people you can’t ignore the truth Lori xx

  3. Those really are some hard facts and figures. I wonder if smoking and drinking will ever been seen in the same way. Parent smokers these days (the responsible ones) have a fag outside, I wonder if drinking will ever be demonised the same way? I think you made a similar analogy a few posts back.

    Scary biscuits those figures.

    1. Daisy I live in hope that in 10 years we look back at this time and it is but a disappearing memory – it has happened with smoking. Scary figures indeed.

  4. I’m newly sober and my kids will be teenagers soon. I only hope I have enough time to set a positive example for them rather than the unhealthy one I’d previously provided. The party fox commercial you talked about in a previous post really hit home for me as well.

    1. Hi the madnessstopsnow! Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. Congrats on the newly sober status 🙂 Positive role-modelling going forward is all that any of us have that we can influence.

  5. As a teacher, I saw some of the neglect and abuse that happened because of parents drinking. The kids knew that dad only got mad when he had beer.
    Another great post. Thank you.

    1. As a school nurse untipsy I see it too. Thank you and you’re welcome.

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